by AgentFrances

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A new way to get around downtown Punta Gorda

Reported on WINK NEWS
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - The people of Punta Gorda will now be sharing the road with cabs and carriages. This week, City Council approved the use of pedicabs and horses downtown. 
Wink News spoke with a local entrepreneurs and residents who say the added wheels and hooves will generate money, tourism and smiles. 
You may have seen them in other cities, like Orlando, three wheels and a driver, zipping around town. 
"If you're tired, too many shopping bags, you've had too big of dinner," said pedicab operator Keith Steele.  
Now pedicabs and horses-drawn carriages are wheeling into downtown Punta Gorda. 
"You should be able to see them moving about town all the time, or there will be phone numbers to call you can beckon one if you'd like," Steele said.  
Sherry Johnson owns a stable and says she's thrilled horsepower is making a comeback. "I just think it's awesome just awesome for that to go on in Punta Gorda. With the snowbirds and the older crowd, it's gonna go over big," Johnson said.  
Taxpayers aren't footing the bill. The money comes from local business who buy advertising space helping to bring new customers right to their door. Pedicab drivers and horse owners will need permits to operate within the city limits. 
"They need to go through development review and make sure we're okay with that kind of traffic on those streets or paths," said Mayor Bill Albers.  
Residents say they are excited to take a joyride. 
"What a better way whether in a pedicab or on a horse to see all the art all the murals there's such history here. I can't imagine that the community will not embrace it," said Ellen O'Day.  
Animal rights activists voiced concerns about the horses operating in extreme heat, but council decided to address those concerns on a permit to permit basis.
City Council says the horses will only be used for special occasions and say the animals will also get plenty of water and rest.


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